Tuesday, July 19
Got up this morning and cooked breakfast…eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls. Then we headed out for Joshua Tree National Park. This National Park is just north of us. We have no idea what to expect. Tim washed the windows off so I could take pics without all the lovely bug guts smeared on the windshield! They looked so nice and clean today! (Thanks, dad, for the supply of paper towels!)
We headed east on I-10 for about 30 miles to the southern entrance into Joshua Tree National Park. While we were in the Cottonwood Visitor Center, one of the rangers was telling us about the thirsty bees that would swarm the car looking for water. ‘Nuf said for me. I was NOT getting out of the car at those two stops, and I was not real thrilled about Tim opening the doors to get out! I envisioned swarms of these honey bees all in the car. I hate those things.
The road through this park was amazing. So nice and flat and no switchbacks to make me turn green! It seemed like every rise we came up would just reveal another view of things we have never seen before. LOTS of rocks at this park. Looked like someone superglued them into place. It is a beautiful but desolate place where two desert types meet. The southern part of the park is representative of a Colorado Desert, which gradually gives way to a Mohave Desert environment. The Joshua Trees themselves belong to the latter type and don’t appear until halfway through the park. In all, Joshua Tree National Park encompasses over 800,000 acres. We have a 50-mile trek to the city of Joshua Tree on the northern border of the park. This first batch of pictures are from the southern half of the park.
The first place we were warned about the thirsty bees (I am seeing those killer bees from Saturday Night Live!) turned out to be nothing. There were some cute caution/warning signs though!
So much to see. SOOOOooooo many pictures taken today. I think I took around 400 just at this park. I am searching for that perfect picture I can send off to one of the canvas companies to be printed on a canvas frame. Tim is gonna kill me having to go through all those pictures…. It’s almost a visual overload. Better to take a zillion pictures to find the few that “pop”. Unfortunately, the size of these shots does a terrible disservice to the beauty and peacefulness surrounding us–despite the heat.
Very soon, we had passed into the Mohave Desert part of the park and saw the first of the Joshua trees. They are a type of yucca that appear to have upraised arms. Even the National Park’s website mentions that the trees seem to belong in a Dr. Seuss book.
The temperature varied from 100 at high noon to the low 90s at the highest spot in this park. (Well, the highest point we can reach by car — “Keys View” at 5100 feet.) THIS is where the thirsty bees swarm your car. One headed right at my face (I have refused to get out of course) and thankfully Tim didn’t just jump out of the car when we pulled in. Our car was swarmed. The car to our left was swarmed. We both tried taking pictures, but I don’t know if any showed how crazy scary this was. (Mom and Dad… another place you cannot go unless you promise to not get out of the car at those two spots!!!)
We ended up driving through this park for around 3 hours.
After we left here, we gassed up (in the city of Joshua Tree) and set our sights for the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs.
They have a ride and dine option that Mike, the concierge at WorldMark, had recommended. The tram can hold up to 80 people…thank goodness that many didn’t show up for our ride up!
It actually rotates as you make your way up the mountain to an elevation of over 8500 ft. There are 5 towers you go over that makes your stomach hit your throat. The kids on the tram are going, “WOW! This is so fun!” You can’t have a death grip on the bar, because the gondola is rotating. Some poor child kept coming my way as we were going to the top because he would continue to move in my direction while he was holding on to the bar. Hoping my pictures turned out. The ride took just a few minutes. We were moving a lot faster than I thought it would, but it was great!
When we got out of the tram, we explored all the different spots you could take pictures from. Tim went up another level…I stayed put….the steps going up to the very top were open stairs and I knew I would freeze going up and of course coming down those things.
Forgot one of the first things we did when we got there….I had done some research at pennycollector.com and found out you can actually look up where these machines are all over the US! I got tickled when I saw they had one at this tram. They actually had two and Tim was prepared with the required 51 cents!
We had a super-late lunch or right-on-time supper on top of the mountain. Ended up with ribs, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a roll. It was very good and definitely hit the spot.
One thing Mike had mentioned about this place was the locals love it because it is almost 30 degrees cooler at the top than when you start out at the bottom. It was in the upper 60s/lower 70s at the top and felt so very good! The views from the top are just breathtaking….again….We keep wondering if stuff will be boring here, and it just isn’t!
After we get back to the car, we actually program in Sonny Bono’s grave. Weird. I know. When Tim was looking for directions on his GPS, it actually showed that when you typed in ‘Attractions.’ So we head there. Unfortunately (?) the cemetary was closed when we got there (Well, it had a keypad, and we obviously didn’t have the code), so all we were able to do is get a picture of the entrance of the cemetary.
One thing that has had us giggling so many different times is how Sirius XM radio must have bugged our car! I have taken pictures of songs playing…”The Long and Winding Road” while we are on our way from Leadville, CO—a very curvy road to the highest elevation of any city in the US. “Car Wash” while we are coming out of the car wash in Sedona. “Take the Long Way Home” …. Ha! Numerous times on this song! But tonight was the strangest I guess. We have just programed the cemetary into the GPS and Cher’s “Half-Breed” comes on. We find the humor in some crazy things I reckon!
Around 8pm we are on our way back to the condo to crash! This has been another day with so many new memories and good times to come back and share with you!